"It is clear that Thomas Hamilton had friends
within Central Scotland Police"
STARTLING new claims that senior police and legal
figures ordered a cover-up over the Dunblane school massacre emerged
Dr Mick North, whose daughter was murdered in the
tragedy, is to write to the Lord Advocate [Colin Boyd], Scotland's
top law officer, with allegations that the evidence was suppressed
or never heard.
In an astonishing
attack, Dr Mick North branded the original inquiry into the 1996 massacre
of 16 schoolchildren and their teacher as a "piece of theatre" and
an "exercise in damage limitation". LINK
He said: "If it wasn't an outright cover-up or whitewash,
it was at the very least a paint job by the establishment to brush
out some of the worst failings of a system that had allowed Thomas
Hamilton to remain free and keep his guns despite serious allegations
about his conduct."
Sixteen Primary One pupils were gunned down along
with teacher Gwen Major when Hamilton burst into the Dunblane Primary
School gym shortly after morning assembly.
Speaking days before the eighth anniversary of the
atrocity, Dr Mick North said: "It is clear now that at the time there
was a strong desire not to undermine public confidence in the police.
"To achieve that, questions that ought to have been
asked were not raised, and witnesses who should have been called were
not heard. All the senior lawyers were playing a role
and I wonder now if they were looking after our interests."
In the years since the official Dunblane Inquiry
chaired by Lord Cullen, Dr North, a retired university lecturer, has
received vital information about key witnesses who were never called
to give evidence in public. LINK
He will write to Lord Advocate Colin Boyd, drawing
his attention to six key points:
The failure to hear evidence from Cathleen
Kerr, a neighbour of Hamilton's who saw him emerge from a grey-coloured
car outside his home on the morning of the shootings.
The driver has never been traced.
The failure to account for Hamilton's exact
movements from the time he left his home to drive to Dunblane
Primary School - a 15-minute journey that took him more than three-quarters
of an hour.
Why an off-duty police officer was mysteriously
at the school on the morning of the shootings was never called
to give evidence.
The failure by police to identify Hamilton
as a paedophile who was almost certainly involved in supplying
photographs of virtually naked boys which he took on camps.
The failure by police to establish who Hamilton's
friends in the police were. A number of witnesses
testified that police ars often stopped outside his home.
The failure to investigate links, revealed
by three witnesses, between Hamilton and the Queen Victoria School,
a military school at Dunblane with a small shooting range that
Hamilton used and where it is claimed by a former teacher [Glenn
that boys were abused. LINK
Dr North's attack came as a senior Conservative caused
outrage among anti-gun campaigners by suggesting children should be
taught how to handle firearms. Shadow homeland security
minister Patrick Mercer said a ban on handguns introduced after the
Dunblane killings had "no effect" on spiralling gun crime. He
said children in rural communities should have lessons in using non-lethal
weapons such as air rifles as a prelude to using shotguns in later
Other campaigners have already lobbied the Lord Advocate
and the Scottish Executive for a fresh Dunblane Inquiry. Some
parents believe there was a Masonic conspiracy to protect powerful
friends of Hamilton, who were widely believed to be Freemasons.
Dr North has had misgivings about theinquiry, chaired
by Lord Cullen, now Scotland's most senior judge since its first day
of hearing evidence, but this was the first time he has spoken of
He said: "I lost confidence early in the hearing
when I believe a senior police officer lied in evidence about the
time at which parents had been told their children were dead.
He brought it forward by between an hour and 90 minutes. The
only explanation I could see was that his version made the police
"Most parents had been kept in the staff room until
3.30pm, about six hours after the shots were fired, before learning
their children were dead. Some parents later came under
pressure from police officers to change the time they had given in
"It seems ridiculous now that the Crown Office was
running the show when we know that the Central Scotland Police and
the procurator fiscal had most to hide in relation to Thomas Hamilton.
"We were dealing with a man who had been brought
to their attention on a number of occasions, having displayed violence
and inappropriate sexual conduct with children. LINK
"He had not been prosecuted and was allowed to hold
guns legally, yet the Crown was picking the witnesses who'd be heard."
Dr North is also deeply unhappy about the 100-year
closure order that was made by Lord Cullen on 106 sets of documents
relevant to the killings.
He said: "Did we simply have an over-cautious judge,
or is there something sinister being kept from the public in the documents
I haven't seen?"
He said he had watched with interest the tragic events
that unfolded at Soham and been aware of uncomfortable parallels with
Dr North said: "As far as I'm aware, no one at Humberside
Police was a friend of Huntley's, but their chief constable has apologised
for their failings.
"It's clear that Hamilton had friends within Central
Scotland Police, yet William Wilson, the chief constable at the time,
denied he had anything to apologise for.
"The parents would love to see Wilson give evidence
but, like many other relevant witnesses, he wasn't called."